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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zeno's Arrow

Remember Zeno? How could you forget him. Here’s my favourite paradox. Zeno’s Arrow.

An arrow flies through space. After a certain amount of time it has moved to a new position. But Zeno asks us to imagine it at a particular instant in time. Freeze it, so to speak. Now introduce a second arrow which is somehow suspended next to it, not moving at all. Zeno asks, how can we tell the difference? And how does the arrow tell the difference? How does the first arrow know that it must change positions in the next moment while the other seemingly identical stays still?

It took Einstein again to solve it. He showed that being in motion changed the appearance of a viewed object. Being in motion changes your world.

The arrow knows it is in motion because the world it sees is different than the world the stationary arrow sees.

Oh yes, my friends, the solution to our writing problems lies right here. Join Dead Beat in applauding two mighty minds.

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